Sometime, the buying and selling of a company is as easy as the buyer and seller agreeing on a price and terms. Sometimes, a Government is also involved to approve the transaction. However, if BlackBerry goes on sale, there is a lot more at stake considering how deeply it is involved with many state-run telcos around the world.
The way BlackBerry is set up is that it has data centres around the world where information is stored, such as your BBM chats or your emails. While all this information is encrypted, BlackBerry has a key and in many countries, that key is shared with the local Government- for reasons that are beyond the scope of this article.
Now imagine what happens if a company like Lenovo buys BlackBerry? While Lenovo is a great company by all means, it is also a Chinese company. It doesn’t take a political genius to figure out how local Governments would react to giving access to their sensitive data to a company that is based out of China. If anything like this does happen, I can see countries, especially with state-run telcos dropping BlackBerry devices and services from their portfolios almost immediately.
While I have pointed out China in the above example, it will be very hard to get Governments to trust almost any company that buys BlackBerry considering the nature of their business. BlackBerry has the advantage of letting their technology integrate so tightly by being over a decade old- a time when cyber security wasn’t under as much scrutiny as it now is.
But with any drastic change, such as change of ownership, I would imagine that the first thing Governments would do is disconnect and re-evaluate, a change that does not bode well for BlackBerry as a company, whoever the owner may be.
It’s a hard situation for BlackBerry to be in.